Need help with my first project

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Forum topic by kunja posted 05-07-2012 09:00 PM 880 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View kunja's profile


1 post in 1629 days

05-07-2012 09:00 PM

Hello LJ,

I’m not completely familiar with this website yet, so hopefully I’ll do this correctly.

I don’t have a lot of experience with woodworking, so if you have any advice, I would greatly appreciate it.

I am trying to make a music box for a girl whom I like. So far I have some 1/2” purple heart boards (purple is her favorite color), the music box movement, a 2 1/4 HP router table, a few hand saws, and normal household power tools.

Is there a good way to begin this project? Additional tools needed, etc.?

Thank you very much!

5 replies so far

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 1683 days

#1 posted 05-07-2012 09:17 PM

I’d say the most important thing (besides skills) to have is a design plan. You don’t want to try and build something (normally) just as you go. It’s a huge headache even on some of the more “simple” projects.

The design will also usually dictate the tools you need. It sounds like you have every tool to do the job (maybe not the most efficient way to do it, but they should work). Well, you probably need sandpaper and some finishing supplies too.

Post up a design and get the dimensions on it. I use SketchUp (free 3D software) to design almost all of my projects.

Post up as much detail as you can here and I’m 100% sure this community will help you.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Tootles's profile


779 posts in 1921 days

#2 posted 05-08-2012 04:46 AM

Take heart in the fact that you already have the most important starting point – the music box movement. That means that there is no guesswork required as to what size the box needs to be.

You do not list that you have access to a table saw, or any other type of power saw. That may prove to be a challenge, the router is a plus though. Have a look at this box, for which I had only limited access to a table saw and radial arm saw, so once the pieces were cut to size, all rebate (rabbet) joints were done with a router.

Oh, boxes have small parts so sometimes it is safer to fix the router and move the wood than it is to clamp the wood and move the router. A router table, even a very basic one, could be a useful addition.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2402 days

#3 posted 05-10-2012 04:12 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks Kunja,
Joinery is the first thing I think about once deciding on a project. With the amount of experience that you have this may not be and easy question to answer for yourself. So given the amount of tools you have to work with. It sounds like the router will be the main tool of choice for your joinery. With a router preferably mounted to some type of table there are many joints you can make. One of the joints you may want to use would be a box joint and is fairly easy to make and look neat as well. You can also use the router to make the grooves for the bottom to seat in as well. With Purple Heart being a pretty hard wood you will need something to make your cuts square with as mentioned earlier.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Bobmedic's profile


312 posts in 2221 days

#4 posted 05-11-2012 04:12 AM

Keep in mind that purple heart wood doesn’t stay purple. Over time with light exposure it will turn a deep brown color. Just an FYI

-- Save lives, ease suffering, reduce morbidity and mortality, stomp out pestilence and disease, postpone the inevitable, and fake compassion. The Paramedics Creed

View Scot's profile


344 posts in 2815 days

#5 posted 05-12-2012 07:02 AM

I agree with Gregn, the box joint is an excellent joint to learn first.
I would search the Inet for music box plans.
Woodsmith is an excellent magazine to learn from, great plans and great but simple details on building each project featured.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

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